Sep 1, 2016

Did He Just Call Me A PAGAN?

As a pastor I see way too many people overwhelmed. This is true whether they know the Lord or not. Overwhelmed by stress and worry which often leads to never really living life to the fullest, all because of “what MIGHT happen”.

One of the main issues I see people overwhelmed with is the area of provision. This includes getting, saving, spending, and giving money. 

I see way too many Christians overwhelmed by concerns about provision and so they end up working way too many hours hoping to get just enough each month to get by; wondering when the other shoe will fall.

I have seen way too many marriages destroyed by issues about provision. Born-Again Christians who vowed “For richer or poorer…” Give up on their marriage because of being overwhelmed by debt. In fact my father’s advice to me on my wedding day was: “Whatever you do don’t fight about money…It ruined the first twenty five years of our marriage”.

In Psalm 37 it says multiple times; “DO NOT FRET!”  And yet we still do. 

Matthew 6:24-34 is one of the foundation verses for my Christian walk. In V24 Jesus said; “No one can serve two masters…” NO ONE!  The Son of God says; “You can’t do it!” Jesus said that you will EITHER HATE the one and LOVE the other. Or be LOYAL to the one and DESPISE the other.

Jesus said that you cannot serve God and mammon (“wealth”). Jesus is telling the truth and yet we still try to serve BOTH, and that is why we have trouble and are overwhelmed at times.

In V25 Jesus said; “Therefore” because you can’t serve two masters. In other words; “DO NOT WORRYABOUT YOUR LIFE! Don’t let it OVERWHELM you! Overwhelmed as you try to figure out how to provide food and drink! Overwhelmed as you try to figure out how to provide clothing! 

Jesus asks a simple question “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” The answer is YES! Life more than food and the body more than clothing!

If that is true then why then do we spend so much time: Overwhelmed by finances? Striving to make ends meet?

In V26 Jesus gives a simple illustration: LOOK AT THE BIRDS: They don’t sow or plant seeds, they don’t have tractors, don’t use weed-killer, and they don’t build barns…And yet - your Heavenly Father feeds them (the birds).

No wonder why birds seem happy-always singing a song!    SELAH!

Jesus is reminding us that we have a Father: He provides for the birds and He will provide for us; so we don’t need to be overwhelmed!

Jesus asks another simple question: “Are you not more valuable than them (the birds)?” The answer is YES! We are more valuable to the Father than the birds! fact I think that He actually likes us because we are His children.

In V27 Jesus asks a another simple question, “Which one of you with ALL of your worrying…” He said; “Can make yourself 18 inches taller?” The answer is NO ONE! So He asks; “Then why worry?” Worrying doesn’t change anything for good!

In V28 Jesus gives another simple illustration: LOOK AT THE FLOWERS: Ponder them to learn thoroughly. Examine carefully to see how they grow.

From what I know, flowers don’t toil and they don’t to grow weary or get  tired or get exhausted. They don’t labor with wearisome effort or burdens or grief. And they don’t get overwhelmed.

Think about it: Flowers don’t spin or dye their own fabric. They don’t own sewing machines and don’t make their own clothing…And yet - your Heavenly Father clothes the flowers.

In V.29 Jesus says that even Solomon with ALL of his money…He was one of the richest men in the history of man. In fact the Queen of Sheba gave him almost five billion dollars worth of gold! In other words he could afford the best suits and yet, was still not dressed as finely as any flower in the field!    SELAH!

In V30 Jesus asks; “If God so clothes the flowers of field…” Which are here today and tomorrow thrown in the furnace…will He not MUCH more clothe you? Will He not MUCH more PROVIDE for you?

The answer is YES! So…then why worry? Worrying doesn’t change anything for good!

V31 says “Therefore” because He will provide for you…”In other words: DO NOT WORRY! Or be anxious about life and what you need! DO NOT SAY: “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?"

Jesus is saying ; Don’t be overwhelmed! Tired, overworked. Worried about getting things, Stressed about to make ends meet…Jesus our Lord – King of Kings is saying; “Don’t worry!”

Jesus says in V32 “After these things the PAGANS (Gentiles) seek”.

Wait; what is Jesus saying? Did He just call me a “pagan”?

No, He is saying that pagans worry because pagans don’t know Father and because they don’t have a relationship with the Father…because pagans don’t seek the Father.

Jesus is reminding you that you are not a pagan! You are a son or daughter of the Father; He will take care of you.

Jesus knows what we need: Is the creator of the eye unable to see or the Creator of the ear unable to hear? Jesus is telling you that you can trust Him --He is your friend. And since He cares, why should you be overwhelmed?

If I am not supposed to worry, then what am I supposed to do? - V33 Two things;

1.) SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM The kingdom is “the domain of the King”. Jesus already said a few moments earlier in Chapter 6 v.9; “When you pray say; “Thy kingdom come…“Give us our daily bread…”  Realize that the domain of King Jesus includes YOU and your needs. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by this life because He has a plan for you!

2.) Secondly, we are to SEEK FIRST HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteousness is “justification” or “right standing”. Because of Jesus we can come boldly in our hour of need! (Heb 4:18). Because of Jesus we can come to the Father with assurance.

His Kingdom is not about food or drink or clothing (Romans 14:17): It’s Righteousness – right standing with God and man. It’s Peace –beyond anything you’ve experienced. It’s Joy – in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says if we seek those two things, then all these other things shall be added. That includes food, drink, and clothing. That includes house payments, utility bills, and cars. That includes college tuition and toothpaste.

Jesus concludes in V34 “Therefore”, because He will provide for you…”Don’t worry about tomorrow: Always stressing about having enough for tomorrow and never enjoying today’s provision. Always stressing about ten years from now: including retirement, college, house, car, etc… 

King David said in Psalm 37:25 that this was true in his life: “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” 

And this is true for Cathy’s and my life!

The Lord has been faithful to provide each time we had needs. We raised six children – on one income and sometimes little to no income. All my children, Cathy, and I went to college (some post graduate). All of us have been provided for in abundance! We never had a bill that we were unable to pay (not always sure how) and even bought a 3-story house with no income, no money in the bank!

My friend; no, you are not a pagan. You are a child of a Heavenly Father who knows what you need! He is longing to take of you!

Some Questions for your consideration:

Where are places that I am Overwhelmed instead of Overflowing?

What are some movements that I need to do to simplify my life? That might enable me to experience life beyond what I have expected or anticipated….

What are the steps that the Lord wants me to take in response?

What is the Lord calling me to do today?



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